Tibetans in their thousands defied governmental restrictions and came out in strength to celebrate the 76th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Kardze, eastern Tibet.
Voice of Tibet (VoT), the Dharamshala based Tibetan radio service cited sources in exile confirming at least two different occasions when Tibetans gathered to offer prayers and celebrate His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s birthday on July 6.
Yama Tsering, a monk in exile told VoT that around 300 nuns from the Ganden Jangchup Choeling nunnery in Tawu, Kardze led an early morning sangsol (incense offering prayers) at the Machen Pomrar hill when they were confronted by armed Chinese security personnel. Local Tibetans had been camping in tents on the slopes of the Machen Pomrar in anticipation of the celebrations.
“Over ten thousand Tibetans joined the nuns, carrying Tibetan national flags and raising slogans for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and religious freedom in Tibet as they were stopped from carrying on the religious practice by over 500 armed Chinese security personnel”, Yama Tsering said.
The sloganeering is said to have continued for over five hours until the head of the nunnery arrived and diffused the situation.
In another incidence of popular celebration, Tibetans in Dragko, Kardze carried out an elaborate prayer ceremony and sangsol to commemorate His Holiness’ birthday.
Earlier on July 5, two monks from Kardze Dhargey monastery were arrested in two separate incidents on charges of carrying out secessionist activities. There is no information on the whereabouts of the arrested monks.
The public display of support for His Holiness the Dalai Lama comes at a time when Kardze is reeling under intense security clampdown following a string of anti-China protests since last month.
The Central Tibetan Administration in a Briefing Paper on the Peaceful Protests in Kardze released July 7 described the situation there as ‘grim and tense’.
“It is clear that the human rights situation inside Tibet, particularly in Karze region, is deteriorating amidst a dramatic increase of Chinese repression and brutality. With the kind of repressive measures that are imposed by the Chinese authorities, there is a possibility of more protests at any time and hence arrest of many Tibetans in the Karze region” the paper noted.